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The UK is going through one of its periodic moral panics: the sacred NHS has been under fire for its treatment of patients, not least the elderly, and now has to encourage its nurses to take courses in ‘compassion’; the BBC is a by-word for inflated salaries and cover ups, and, after the Savile and Rolf Harris scandals, looks like a cess-pit; Parliament itself is now embroiled in another paedophile scandal, and I am told that the Twittersphere is full of rumours about the most extraordinary range of folk; one assumes some of its users learnt nothing from what happened in the case of Lord Macalpine and the wife of Speaker Bercow? As the lady from whom I get my morning paper said “They’re all it Geoffrey, the lot of them, I don’t know what the world’s coming to!” My response encapsulated only part of what I felt: ‘Aye, lass, the world’s going to hell in a hand cart!”

It is tempting to say that this is what happens when a nation turns its back on God. It isn’t that God punishes us, it is that the consequences of our sinful acts inflicts punishment on ourselves; if God wanted to punish us, I’m sure he could, and there’s been occasions when I’ve wondered about the gopher wood and my carpentry skills. But before giving into that temptation, I’m also tempted to wonder how much of this sort of thing went on in the past, and it was just that we ordinary folk never knew about it? As Bosco never ceases to remind us (and it was mildly interesting the first time he mentioned it, but the millionth repetition gets a little tiresome) the Popes of the Middle Ages were not always the most upright of folk. Students of the late Roman Empire have a feeling of deja vu all over again. After all, mankind, although inventive in its sinning, is inclined to sins which have a limited number of variations, and there is nothing new under the sun.

But what is plain for all to see is that despite being one of the few countries in the world with an Established Church, whose senior members sit in the legislature as of right, the UK is one of the most atheistic countries in the world. The USA may have its culture wars, but at least there there are two armies, with that of God being (literally at times) well-armed ans active in the public sphere. American Christians are far more active in opposing abortion and in evangelisation than we are here. I daresay that not all is well, and that the forces of darkness make advances, but over the Atlantic, with no Establishment, the cause of Christ is advanced with more fervour and success. It really is time we got rid of this great wen. When the former Archbishop of Canterbury and a rising young star in its frimament tell us effectively to meditate and go along with the idea that God isn’t there in a leftie journal where they could try to preach the Word, we know its game is up. Let us free its priests up from the dead hand of the State, and let us abolish bishops, places in the Lord, and let us disestablish a church whose good can be seen at parish level, and whose defects loom large at a national one.